The Right Wing

Conservative Mormon Senator Arrested for Drunk Driving

Despite breaking the religious prohibition of alcohol, he’s often toed the Mormon political line during his three terms as a U.S. senator.

A Republican Mormon Idaho senator was arrested for drunk driving early Sunday morning—despite the fact that he has often professed to abstain completely from alcohol in accordance with the teachings of his faith.

According to the Alexandria Police Department in Virginia, Michael Crapo, a three-term Republican senator, ran a red light at nearly 1 am on Sunday morning. When the police pulled him over, he registered a blood alcohol level of 0.11—well above the state’s strict 0.8 cut off. He was taken to the Alexandria jail, where he was later released on a $1,000 bail.

A Mormon bishop, Crapo has previously told the Associated Press that he doesn’t drink because alcohol—in addition to coffee and tea—is prohibited for followers of the Mormon faith.

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Despite breaking this religious law, he’s often toed the Mormon religion’s political line during his three terms as a U.S. senator. His record on both abortion and marriage equality reflects his conservative, religious background. He’s voted tolimit partial-birth abortions, to stop all federal funding to organizations that perform abortions and to limit abortion access to minors (although he conversely voted against legislation that would have provided education to reduce teenage pregnancy).

On the LGBTQ rights front, he has co-sponsored legislation to prevent states from legalizing marriage equality. As he writes on his website, “While I do not advocate amending the Constitution unless absolutely necessary, I have co-sponsored and supported efforts in the U.S. Senate to preserve marriage as we know it to be today—union between one man and one woman.  I will work with my colleagues in Congress to protect the sanctity of marriage and will continue to press for policies that safeguard traditional marriages.”

On Sunday night, Crapo issued a statement to his supporters. "I am deeply sorry for the actions that resulted in this circumstance. I made a mistake for which I apologize to my family, my Idaho constituents and any others who have put their trust in me. I accept total responsibility and will deal with whatever penalty comes my way in this matter."

As a New Year’s Resolution, he also said he would make sure "this circumstance is never repeated."

He has a court date on January 4.

Laura Gottesdiener is a freelance journalist and the author of "A Dream Foreclosed: Black America and the Fight for a Place to Call Home," forthcoming from Zuccotti Park Press.